"Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas had better things to do."
The makers of ‘Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction’ were probably correct in thinking there were viewers whose only demand from this sequel were fleeting glances of Sharon Stone’s skin. To get to those shots of Stone’s chest and thighs, however, the audience has to wait through a two-hour story that’s so tedious that the audience may walk out before Stone eventually liberates herself from her clothing.It’s been 14 years since screenwriter Joe Eszterhas earned a then unprecedented $3 million for penning the sleazy tale of a crime fiction writer named Catherine Tramell (Stone), who may or may not have killed a few people to get ideas for her pulp novels.
Neither Eszterhas nor director Paul Verhoeven had anything to do with this follow-up, and both can be praised for not soiling what’s left of their reputations with this one. Even their unintentionally amusing follow-up "Showgirls" is more involving than "Basic Instinct 2."
The new screenplay by husband-and-wife scribes Harry Bean ("Internal Affairs") and Leora Barish ("Desperately Seeking Susan") moves Catherine from San Francisco to London. Needless to say, her hyperactive sex life and mysterious trail of corpses follows her across the Atlantic.
When a car sex stunt kills her lover of the moment, a zealous cop (David Thewlis) asks a psychologist named Michael Glass (David Morrissey) to determine if Catherine is a danger to herself and others. Expectedly, he does.
When she beats the rap, Catherine pouts and struts her way across Michael’s office until he agrees to treat her for risk addiction. As can be expected, the two hop into bed together and people around them start dying.
None of this is terribly interesting. In the first movie, Michel Douglas made enough of an impression as the cop pursuing Catherine so there was some tension as the two took turns being predator and prey. Morrissey’s Michael Glass, however, is not exactly prey for Stone.
He’s more like lunch meat.
Stone isn’t much better. It’s been more than a decade since she shocked audiences by crossing her legs and revealing the underwear she wasn’t wearing, so the novelty’s worn off. In the first movie her unrepentant sexuality was intriguing. It was guilty fun to watch her torment the men around her.
At this point, Stone’s posturing is more irritating than enticing.
Spouting obscenities makes for curiously repellent pillow talk. The former Oscar nominee flips her hair and wears more revealing outfits as the film progresses but seems incapable of presenting any facial expression other than a disdainful sneer. Her come-ons elicit more giggles than gasps.
Bean and Barish’s script strangles itself up in the Gordian knot of storyline. There are enough red herrings here to fill a fish market.
Once-promising director Michael Caton-Jones ("Scandal") lacks Verhoeven’s visual flair and his sense of pacing. "Basic Instinct 2" not only plods but manages to kill any suspense before it starts to grow.
Whenever a tense moment might occur, Caton-Jones and composer John Murphy manage to nullify it with an ear-splitting blast of music.Just as Catherine is addicted to risk, the filmmakers behind "Basic Instinct 2" seem fatally enamored with a setup that’s a good decade past its expiration date. It’s a safe bet that money inspired Stone and company to remain with this rotting carcass of a film, although it’s hard to imagine anyone besides gullible producers parting with greenbacks for this thing.